Customers at a cafe in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district were thrown into panic Sunday when 23-year-old restaurateur Yen Yunthoy unwrapped a gift from a recently fired employee to discover a grenade concealed inside a Nokia mobile phone box, officials said.
District police were called to Prime Cafe in Boeng Kak II commune at 11:30 a.m. Sunday after 27-year-old Sok Kakada—a former manager who was fired from his job last week—handed the security guard a Soviet-made grenade gift-wrapped inside a budget-range Nokia-105 box, said district military police chief Taing Outaror.
“We have only just delivered the report on this case to municipal police authorities, who are now investigating the case,” he said.
Mr. Outaror said the stunt was likely intended as a threat of revenge, since the grenade still had its pin intact. He said the explosive device was being stored at the Toul Kork military police station pending further investigation.
Meas Chanpiseth, deputy chief prosecutor for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said the suspect was arrested Sunday and a search was carried out of his home, but said he did not have further details.
“I ordered a search on the suspect’s house in Phnom Penh today but I have not yet received the report from the military police,” he said.
Deputy municipal military police chief Then Sovan, who is in charge of the investigation, could not be reached Sunday.
The cafe’s owner, Mr. Yunthoy, could not be reached but a staff member at Prime Cafe on Sunday, who declined to be named, said the incident had not affected business and the cafe had remained open throughout the day.
“The restaurant is still open, it did not close at all today but I cannot tell you more information because I am not the owner,” she said.
Last Monday, deadly weapons entered another boss-employee dispute when a major general with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces bodyguard unit, who owns a transport company, allegedly shot one of his drivers in the leg when he resigned after being refused a pay raise.
(Additional reporting by Simon Henderson)